The Defence Ministry today challenged the international human rights group Amnesty International (AI) to release the allged media hit list in it's possession to the public in order to prove that such a list actually exists.
Defence Spokesperson Minister Keheliya Rambukwella told Daily Mirror online that for the past four years, gross allegations were being made against the government and organizations such as AI were continuing this trend.
“Sri Lanka has been a country which has defeated terrorism. Because we had the power to do it, some organizations have been badly hurt by this and AI may be one of them. If they have the hit list, we challenge them to prove it,” Minister Rambuwella said.
He further accused AI of being biased despite the government having discussions with them in the past.
AI claims it is in possession of a “hit list” believed to be compiled by the Sri Lankan intelligence unit with names of at least 35 leading journalists and NGO officers.
The organisation, in a statement, claimed that the list then grades each of them according to their importance to the intelligence services. AI fears that the leak was a deliberate move by the government to intimidate and harass journalists in the country.
Meanwhile in a statement released by the Presidential Secretariat, it stated that after having made its own inquiries into these allegations, the Office of the President has not found evidence of any such list of persons prepared by the State Intelligence Service as stated or by any other law enforcement authority.
"Any investigation by the authorities on alleged or suspected illegal or criminal activities are, and will be, conducted strictly in accordance with the law," the statement said.
The statement added that the government remains totally committed to the principles of democracy and the protection of Fundamental Rights guaranteed by the Constitution, and all inquiries conducted by the law enforcement authorities are done fully in keeping with the law, and not in breach
of accepted standards of Human Rights, with all citizens having full recourse to the Courts and due process. (Daily Mirror online)